Sunday, October 15, 2017

Remembering Our Littles...

Thanks to fellow blogger over at Waiting for Baby Bird, who through her Facebook page helps me remember the significance of today, October 15th...


You see, today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day:


From 7-8pm, in every timezone, it's a day dedicated to remembering all of our little ones who were gone too soon, but whom will always have a very special place in our hearts, forever.

If today is a day that touches you personally, please know that you are not alone, and I, along with many other women and men are sharing in your pain, loss, love, smiles, and heartache...

May the Lord help bring you strength and peace in knowing that He still does have (and really always had) a plan in all of this.  While it may seem grey, confusing, senseless, and many times unbearable - especially in the abyss of all the "not knowing why" - He is always there, right by your side. Through all of your pain, loneliness, and heartache, He is there, wrapping you in His loving arms... and it will be through His grace that you will come out on the other side, whatever that may look like for you.

To all who have precious little loved ones who have gone too soon, due to any of the difficult countless reasons, please know that you too are in my heart tonight... And I pray that God help heal your broken heart, while allowing you the strength to think of your little one(s) and smile with love.

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In memory of our three precious little ones who we only had for a short time, but who will all always remain in our hearts. I'm grateful that we had the opportunity to love you, and know that we always will continue to... until we can be together again 💚💚💚 



Saturday, October 14, 2017

IVF FET Defeat

Well, it's been almost 6 months since my last post, but I'm here... still kicking, 'still waiting for my bun,' but still looking forward and holding on to hope.

What's happened over the past 6 months? Well, a whole lot, while at the same time, a whole lot of nothing...

Since there's oh so much to update on, I'm not sure exactly where to start, and even more so, how to ensure that this post doesn't take one 45min. to read.  But I guess I'll just start at the beginning... and when I get to the end, I'll stop... (Isn't that a quote from somewhere? Hmm?).

Anyways...

I guess it makes sense to pick back up from my last post where I summarized our first round of IVF using the Cliff's Notes version by saying: "First we were pregnant, and then we were not."

While I guess that's pretty self-explanatory, here are the details:

It was a frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle that we had to do back in March (since I had hyper-stimmed while preparing for my egg retrieval in January and we had to freeze everything) - - and we decided to transfer two embryos, which was a difficult decision to finally come to - ugh, I wish I wasn't so over-analytical sometimes.

A couple weeks later I went in for my first Beta and it was positive... somewhere around 155 or something. So a nice decent level. When I went back a couple days later for my next Beta, my levels had risen, but didn't quite double as they should have.

My first panicked thought was, "Are you serious?! How is this happening again?"... I was terrified that I was in the midst of yet another ectopic pregnancy, like I had last fall (recap on that "roller coaster" can be found here and here, and the aftermath here).

But when I had gotten the call about my second Beta, the nurse didn't seem as concerned as the last time around and basically just said that it was still super early and to wait a week and then come back for follow up blood work and ultrasound. Despite me calling back and insisting that this could possibly be another ectopic, and that I had experienced one before, and rattling on about how high-risk and dangerous they could be and early detection was crucial, she again just calmly reassured me that it was still very early and either way, there wouldn't be much that we could tell (or see) at this point, so we just needed to wait.

So that's what we (begrudgingly) did...

A week later I went back as instructed. However, since I wasn't able to make it in until late that afternoon, I had to wait until the following day for my blood results. On the ultrasound, as expected, they saw nothing.  As I laid there on the table, I again thought to myself, "How the heck can this too be happening again?!" It literally felt like reliving the first nightmare all over again, to a tee... And the panic started to set in. "I'm about to have to face another ectopic!" I thought to myself.  "I need to start preparing mentally because that was the most difficult (both emotional and physical) experience I've ever gone through"... While at the same time still working to process the disbelief that here we were, right smack-dab in the middle of the same exact painful situation as we had faced 6 months earlier.

The next day I received the call from Dr. M's office, and unfortunately, I couldn't answer it at the time so they had to leave a message.  As I prepared to listen to the message, I braced myself...

One of Dr. M's nurses said something along the lines of, "Hi Tiffanie... I really hate to have to leave this message on your voicemail, but unfortunately since it's the end of the day we wanted to ensure you received the results of your blood work before we close..."

Dr. M's nurse then proceeded to explain to me that my Beta showed my HcG levels had dropped significantly and currently were around 50 or so... signaling that the pregnancy was already in the process of failing and that it would not be viable.

I'll never forget that moment, as I sat in my parked car listening to the voicemail... simply because of the extreme polarity of the two emotions I felt instantaneously all at once:

On one hand, it was instant relief that the "roller coaster" was over, it was not an ectopic again, and that my body was naturally miscarrying on its own (while at the same time immediate guilt for even having any sort of "positive" reaction).

On the hand, it was absolute devastation... and pain from the sadness of the reality that we had just lost two of our precious little snowflakes.

And then it was shock - - How could this not have worked? Wait, it did work, but then it failed. How could we have just gone through ALL of what we've gone through over the past couple of years, and throughout this whole emotionally and physically draining, up-and-down, chaotic IVF cycle and end up here? Why was God letting this happen, again? It would have been much more bearable if the cycle had just failed altogether, but why allow us to have a positive pregnancy, only to take it away?... Again?  Like this?

None of it made any sense.

And trying to wrap your head around all of the whys, especially the ones directed at God, really get you nowhere, but hurt and more confused.

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Sometimes, we just aren't meant to know all the insights of the "why" - - sometimes, we just have to accept, hold on to hope, and trust enough to keep moving forward towards what we can - embracing the opportunity to gain strength along the way.

And sometimes, we just need to pause and gather ourselves, while re-evaluating where we are, where we're going, and how we're going to get there. So that's exactly what we set out to do over the next few months...


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Long Story Short

I've been a bad blogger lately... this I know - and for that I'm sorry (insert feeling of shame).

But hear's a brief (and probably somewhat taboo) update regarding our first round of IVF (to catch up on the process leading up to my transfer, check out this post leading up to my egg retrieval... this post and then this post on my actual egg retrieval... and finally this post leading up to my transfer)...

So regarding the update, here it is in a nutshell:

We were pregnant... and then we were not...


More details to follow in a future post of the emotional roller-coaster (again) surround all of this. But for now, that's the Cliff's Notes version :( 

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Power of Infertility

Infertility can change you.

Really, that's an understatement. It does change you... at your core. It has the capacity to inevitably rewrite so much about your life. About who you are. About how you see things. It has a strength that can become all consuming.

All of this starts out as the excitement for wanting to start (or grow) your family, but then slowly morphs into a desire... and then into a longing. A longing to be pregnant. A longing to have a baby. And before you know it, that longing can begin to take a painful turn.

It can become a nagging pain... and then an intense pain, that you seem to be reminded of often. Reminded of at many innocent moments when you're least expecting it. Those moments when you're driving down the street and a pregnant woman walking down the sidewalk catches your eye. The moment when your searching for a parking spot and excitedly begin to pull into an open one near the front, only to realize it's reserved for "Expectant Mothers." The moment when your colleagues begin talking about all their weekend plans with their children, and you are starkly reminded that you don't have any children... Or that awkward moment when someone asks you, "Oh, do you have kids?" and when you politely say no, they proceed to ask, "Do you want any?"...if they only knew...

If they only knew how badly I want a child. How much I'm struggling to try and have a child. How much I have gone through, and continue to go through, to have a child...

If they only knew that I think about not having a child, and about the child we had to loose, more times a day than can probably be counted...

If they only knew... then they might begin to have a glimpse into exactly the power that infertility can have, and how it can rob you of oh so much. It has a strength to begin to change the way you view the world around you, and yourself for that matter.


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All that we have gone through in our battle with infertility has definitely reshaped me at my core. It's changed the way I think, the way I feel, the things I see and notice, the things I do everyday... It's changed who I am.

But the beauty in all of this...

I still have a choice.

I can choose to let it break me, and tear me down... Or I can choose to keeping moving forward and embrace it.

Embrace it?

Yes, I have chosen to embrace (and accept) my infertility. Trust me though, it hasn't always been easy, and it's undoubtedly been a long and arduous road to get here (and truthfully, I'm probably not even here on some days).

But as I look back to the early days of this journey, I'm reminded of where I started -- of the woman I was almost 3 years ago, who was in complete denial of the dreaded word: INFERTILITY. I not only didn't want to accept it, I whole-heatedly refused to accept it. It wasn't me and I didn't want any part of it.

But that's the thing about life - no matter how hard or how much we try to ignore reality, it's still there... and it will continue to be there until the moment we're ready to turn around and face it.

So that's what I did and that's what I choose to continue to do. I've accepted that this is our reality, and now I'm learning to embrace this path we've been set on. There's no sense in denying it or fighting it, or trying to refuse the reality of it... it just is.

At every moment, I have the choice to embrace or the choice to deny... I chose to embrace. And as I embrace, I continue to fight and look forward. Fight for the family I know we will have one day. Fight for the memory of the little peanut we had to say good-bye to. Fight through all that it continues to take to one day grow our family... and look forward to the moment when that comes to fruition.

As I continue to fight and look forward, I just have to focus on those things around me that I can draw strength from. My amazing husband who has been and continues to be my rock... and really, the one person who can understand exactly what this journey is. Our supportive family and friends, who continue to fight with us.., cheer during our celebrations and cry with us during our heartaches.  And most importantly, the foundation upon which I'm able to stand while going through all of this: my faith... and trust in Jesus.

In fact, my faith even reminds me of the promise that good can actually come, even out of the most difficult of circumstances, because God always does have a purpose... and although I may not be able to clearly see exactly what that purpose is right at this moment, I still know it to be true.

Even "in oceans deep, my faith will stand"... And that, is the one thing that I continue to hold on to through all of this...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Becoming One with the Needle... Again


The process to prepare for the upcoming Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) has slowly begun. At this point, we're looking at about two months out (give or take), so I recently started birth control pills again (I swear, the irony of that one will be something I never get over!)... and also ordered the different medications I'll need, and those arrives the other day.

Among them is, drum roll please... (and cue music signifying "impending doom"):

The dreaded Progesterone in Oil - also known as PIO shots.

Ahhhhh...

As I look ahead to having to give these injections, all I can think about and all that keeps swimming through my head is the horror stories I've heard...

In all that I've been through up until this point, for some reason, I swear the thought of these shots scares the heck out of me! I'm literally terrified...

What's so bad about them you might ask, well, let's start with the fact that they are intramuscular injections... In laymen's terms, this means a really big needle that must go through the muscle when you inject it. Yikes! Up until now, most of the shots (at least the self-administered ones) have been subcutaneous, meaning a small needle that basically just injects the medicine right below the surface of the skin into the fat, and then your body absorbs it from there. 

I've had a few intramuscular shots before when I've taken my HcG trigger shots, but the intramuscular ones were done in Dr. M's office by one of the nurses, so we've never had to give them ourselves (I say "we" because my husband is amazing and helps me with pretty much all of the shots).

The second frightened aspect is the fact that I will literally be injecting oil into myself. I don't know why, but for some reason this just seems weirdly unnatural... then again, what part of any of this process has been "natural"?

In addition, I've heard numerous stories that the shots are painful, the oil hurts when going in, the oil can be tough going in, there can be irritation or swelling/ lumps that form at the injection site, all kinds of fun stuff, ugh.

Of course, I've never been one to be afraid of needles or put off by a little pain or discomfort, and again, at this point, I'm pretty used to all that... but for some reason, these darn PIO shots are really psyching me out.

I have my consultation appointment set up for first thing tomorrow morning, where I'll go through some different consent forms and information to prepare for the upcoming transfer, and then will have a training session on exactly how to administer these shots - - so we'll see how that goes. I'm sure I'm just getting myself worked up into a tizzy about this for nothing, but for some reason these darn little shots are already taking me for a ride and I haven't even started them yet... What fun.

Ladies who have been down this road before, any thoughts? Advice? Experiences? I know I've seen, heard, and read little tips and tricks here and there before, so any advice is more than welcomed... until then, I will just sit here and continue to stew over the fear of these radical little shots :) 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Drama on ER Day... and My Popsicles


After my egg retrieval (ER) surgery a couple weeks back, I'm all recovered up at this point... and for the most part, everything went well. The surgery itself was quick and went as expected. The hubs and I arrived to Dr. M's office bright and early for our 6:30am appointment. We checked in, and not long after, we were called back to our room to be prepped and wait for the procedure.

After signing some more consents, getting an IV started, and reviewing what to expect with the nurse, we had a slight hiccup of drama right before I was scheduled to head back into the room for the ER.

Because of my over-response to the hormone injections this cycle, and the elevated risk that put me at for Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), one of the nurses had told me a few days prior that they were calling in a prescription order of Ganirelix for me, to my mail-order pharmacy. I've used this pharmacy a number of times in the past, and typically every time Dr. M's office calls in an order, the pharmacy then calls me within a day or two to confirm and finalize the order for delivery. So when the nurse mentioned this, I didn't think anything of it, and just figured the pharmacy would call me as they always have.

Long story short, on the day of the ER, as the nurse was reviewing everything with me prior to the surgery, she mentioned that I would be starting the Ganirelix later that day, and would continue on the daily injection for a total of 7 days... "Uhhhh, I don't have the Ganirelix" I said to her.

And she looked at me with what I would describe as a slight look of terror...

"What do you mean you don't have it yet?  We called in the prescription for you?  It's important that you absolutely start on this medication today!" she said.

"Well, the pharmacy never called me and when I spoke to the nurse the other day, she just mentioned it in passing, and never specifically told me when I was supposed to start so I didn't know I needed it today. I was just waiting for the pharmacy to call me about it like they always do."  Miraculously, I was still somehow staying clam at this point.

The nurse said she would go and check to see if they happened to have one dose of it on hand in the office that they could give me for that day, but mentioned that she was doubtful they would... and mean while, I proceeded to get on the phone with the pharmacy to raise hell.

For the entire 15min. prior to being whisked into the procedure room, I spoke with numerous pharmaceutical representatives, and managers, and pharmacists, and customer service reps., literally having to explain my situation over and over again (while continuing to throw in the line that, "I'm sitting here about to go into surgery in a few minutes, and I need this medication today in order to prevent some post-op. complications that I'm at risk for ")... as if that would somehow magically help the medicine fly across the country from their warehouse to my front door.

Basically, it took 5 different people to finally get a straight answer: "The earliest possible time we could get this medication to you would be tomorrow morning, with overnight priority shipping."

"Wellllll, that's not going to work..."

Awesome.

Looks like we'll have to figure out a Plan B and cross our fingers that another local pharmacy has it in stock AND that insurance will cover it, or else we're choking down the $189 for one dose.

At that point... it was time for the ER.

And the Ganirelix drama was not the stress I needed at that moment.

Literally, always something...

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Regardless, the retrieval did go good... and the next thing I knew, I was back in the room reunited with my husband, apparently saying the same things over and over again and not remembering, because of the anesthesia :)

Immediately after the ER they told us how many eggs they were able to retrieve, and the next day we learned how many fertilized... and then a few days later we learned how many made it to the blastocyst stage.

All of it was, and still is, a very surreal experience.

(Ok, ok, at this point I know you're dying to know the meat of this all and what the ER stats were, so I won't make you wait any longer...)

I went in with approximately 30 follicles, and we were able to retrieve 25 eggs... Whoa.

Of those 25, 18 eggs were mature.

One a side note: Once the hubs and I had learned a few days prior that I was over-stimming, we, along with some guidance from our team at Dr. M's office, had decided that we may potentially not attempt to fertilize all of the eggs retrieved (just depended on the number we got), because we wanted to be conservative and limit the number of embryos we had (I know, not your typical IVF approach... and again, a post for another day). So we had gone into the ER with a maximum number of eggs in mind that we would attempt to fertilize.

Now back to our stats...

So we had 18 mature eggs, and of those 18 we had decided to try and fertilize 12 of them, using ICSI (our clinic uses it for all cases... It's basically where they inject the sperm directly into the egg, rather than just placing the egg and sperm together and letting fertilization attempt to occur on it's own).

Therefore, because of our choice, we were also able to freeze 6 of my eggs (obviously, unfertilized)... So this is nice to have as a back up plan down the road, if needed.

Of the 12 that we attempted to fertilize, 10 actually did fertilize.

And of those 10... 6 made it to the blast. stage and were able to be frozen. So at this point, we have 6 little popsicles in the freezer... and we're hoping to be able to transfer sometime in the next couple of months.

Until then, my heart belongs to my 6 popsicle babes... until the day that I can give each one an opportunity to come home...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Is Today Like Easter?



Here we are, the day of my egg retrieval (ER)surgery, and as I sit here at 5:30am, preparing to leave the house soon, I can't help but have the random the thought, "Is today like Easter?"

I mean, Dr. M is going to go around inside my ovaries looking for and scooping up as many eggs as possible?  That's pretty much what little kids do on Easter, right? Go around and collect eggs (not the "inside my ovaries" part)?

Ha.

Come on, I need to still be able to find some humor in all of this... so this is my attempt.

At least I made myself laugh (well, more like chuckle) this morning. And being in good spirits before going into the ER has to be worth something, right? I think so.

At this point, I'm ready to have these eggs out of me... all 30+ of them (yup, that many... remember, I hyper-stimmed, blah). So, I'm pretty bloated, uncomfortable, and it hurts to just sit down sometimes, and also trying to be very careful not to inadvertently do something to accidentally twist an ovary (called ovarian torsion).

So, we're about to be off... and get this Easter party started...